It’s one thing to look at the Batad Rice Terraces from afar, but it’s another seeing it up close and on a different angle. After setting down our things at Simon’s Inn, we rested a few minutes to prepare our trek to Tappia Waterfalls (or Tappiyah Waterfalls). The trek to Tappia Falls is at least an hour as I remember. We didn’t hire a guide and just relied on my memory on where to go. I remember going on two routes then. Let’s just see if I recall them right.
Well it’s a good thing there was another group of female foreign volunteers who hired a local guide from BEGTA (Batad Environmental Guides Tourist Association). She pointed the initial way at the beginning of our trek where it forked. There was a left and right way just behind the school. I remember the right way is the descending stairs headed straight to the village at the middle of the terraces.
We turned left where the trail is on the same level of the upper terraces and is much easier than taking the stairs to the village. But still, even if this way is easy route caution should always be considered here. The initial trail is walking on the side of the mountain where one step could send one falling straight down the cliffs. And when walking along the side of the terraces, one wrong step could send one plummeting down the terrace below. And note that the height of each terrace is almost double the height of an average Filipino.
So we were careful as we thread the terraces. Stopping a while to appreciate the view then focusing on our steps until we reach the jump off for the Tappia Falls. The jump-off point is a large rest stop opposite where we came from. From here the trail gets really challenging. We were a bit worried since it was already late afternoon so we gave ourselves a schedule on what time we should be heading back.
I can describe the trail to Tappia Falls as steep winding stairway of torture. If you’re not accustomed to hiking it can be very difficult. This trek is recommended for strong hikers. If you’re not that strong, you should give yourself time to navigate the stairs not just going down but also going up.
Despite the difficulty of the trail along with that mental battle going on in your head whether to just turn back while it’s early of if you even have enough strength to go back, we reached the majestic Tappia Waterfalls. It’s towering height and powerful pour sends water spraying around the mountain enclosure. The sight of it does ease our exhaustion a bit. But hell that was still tiring.
We took photos but didn’t stay long as we have to go back before dark. But halfway through our trek back, night did catch up on us. It was a funny trek, we had limited light since but good thing we have someone with good vision in the dark lest we plummet down the trail. And as we got nearer one of the guides we met earlier was there to help us and lent her light. She checked up on us since we weren’t back yet. She told us that the guides keep tabs on visitors and reports back to their headquarters. That was real assuring.
We reached our inn finally at the same time exclaiming “Welcome to Batad” by none other than the Dom himself. Yes we did make it back and enjoyed our hefty dinner, washing up then having a relaxing massage from the locals. Batad is amazing but you really have to exert some effort to appreciate all its facets of adventure and grandeur. And it’s all worth it. Welcome to Batad!
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.